Ditching the singles scene, the lame hangouts or swinging by the bar on the weekends with little or no hope of finding the perfect match have all contributed to the popularity of online dating.
Social and dating sites like Match.com and eHarmony.com, two of the more renowned and popular spots online, sport some serious flare and plenty of members that no longer are interested in searching high and low for that special someone and instead have opted to take a more calculated risk.
Does online dating take all the fun out of falling in love? To a degree, dating online really is more about taking the trials and tribulations out of dating or the awkwardness out of the first date and instead allows users to narrow down likes, dislikes and move at a pace that you ultimately feel comfortable with, and offers a level of discreteness and safety that is appreciated by users.
In addition to broad sites like the aforementioned Match.com and eHarmony, online dating also has seen the arrival of more specific sites for the purposes of finding the perfect match, including ones that are geared toward a certain race, religion or age.
The age aspect is worth noting since Match.com is reporting that its age group of 50-65 has jumped in membership in the last five years to the tune of 90% growth. This number is courtesy of Charles W. Massie, a baby boomer himself and author of "Stains on the Gavel," a novel that talks about his own online dating ups and downs.
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Regardless of which dating site you choose or how old or young you are, the online singles scene is littered with scams and too good to be true scenarios that often lead to misled consumers and broken hearts, not to mention the potential for theft in the form of your identity or giving money to a would be significant other, only to realize you've been duped.
You don't have to be a victim in this regard if you realize that online dating isn't full proof but rather another medium that isn't necessarily totally regulated. Dating web sites work hard to make sure the information you see and read is true, but they simply can't manage the thousands of profiles on their sites at a moment's notice.
That puts the onus on you to truly recognize when something seems askew or a person isn't of the ilk you once believed them to be.
Massie tosses a few pointers into the equation, including using a more reputable dating site that isn't Craigslist, for example and being leery of photos or descriptions that seem all too perfect. This is particularly worth noting as far as pictures go. You might think that this 60 something guy or gal looks great for their age; your first premonition usually is the correct one.
And that belief and sentiment truly encapsulates how you should approach online dating, with your guard up and always going with your "gut feeling" first and foremost. You'd also be wise to ignore people on dating sites that are all too quick to want to meet or exchange phone numbers after only initially contacting you.
That typically leads to scam artists devilishly attempting to get personal or private information from you, including banking, driver's license or social security numbers. As much as you assume people wouldn't be that gullible or oblivious to give out that type of fodder, it happens far too often, especially when love is involved.
Some are so incredibly swept up in the idea they've found the "perfect" person or have an indescribable connection with a stranger that they're not thinking clearly and don't want this budding romance derailed.
Thankfully, awareness regarding online dating and scams is no longer an afterthought and instead is being scrutinized by the mainstream to the point that most online daters understand what not to do.
For those who don't, you won't love the end result.
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